Lidija’s housing joy
- 4 January 2022 8:38AM
Several months ago, Lidija was living out of her van on the Sunshine Coast.
“I tried every possible way to rent—share housing, independent units, but no one wanted me,” Lidija said.
“When I told people my age, they thought I was too old.”
Lidija bought the van to travel around Australia. But during the COVID-19 pandemic her plans changed, and she decided to stay where she was.
The van quickly became a health risk. It was affected by rust and mildew, and she worried there would be nowhere for her to live safely if the virus spread to the area.
A friend of Lidija’s suggested she contact her local Housing Service Centre (HSC) for help.
“They told me where I could stay, because it was very hard to find accommodation (at the time),” she says.
For four months Lidija stayed at the Sunshine Coast Housing Hub, where she was able to access food and temporary accommodation.
The Hub is a housing partnership between the Queensland Government and community organisation IFYS Ltd, which was set up to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the HSC phoned about an available unit nearby, Lidija was overjoyed.
“I was so grateful to people for assisting me,” she said.
“I was walking around with a permanent smile on my face, because I had a place to live that was bigger than my van.”
Lidija’s new unit is close to shops and essential services. She has been busy decorating it, so it feels like home.
“I love my unit—it has a lovely energy and greenery from every window, which is so relaxing,” she said.
“I found some pictures, some cushions and a bookshelf to decorate my house and it looks beautiful.”
She also swapped her van for a healthier vehicle to get her around town.
Lidija and her neighbours are becoming good friends, and she is giving time to people in her community who need help.
“I’ve joined a local community group and every Tuesday we meet to meditate and find ways to help each other and our neighbours,” she says.
“I just wish for the whole world to be happy.”